India lose to Malaysia but qualifies for last 16 of World Squash ChampionshipNovember 29, 2017
India went down fighting 2-3 to Malaysia in the last league match in Pool H in the WSF-Men’s team squash championship in Marseille on Tuesday.
However, India having finished second in the pool, qualified for the pre-quarterfinal where it will play the winner of Germany and Scotland.
On paper this was an upset considering India was seeded eight, one above Malaysia. Both teams seemed equally balanced but the Malaysian players showed the ability to win the big points in the end.
“It was disheartening overall, having come so close. Both Saurav Ghosal and Harinder Pal Sandhu looked good to win but it did not happen,” Cyrus Poncha, the National coach said.
It started with the first match where India’s number one player Ghosal ran the Malaysian opponent Nafiizwan Adnan close till the last. In fact, Ghosal had led 2-1 at one stage but let go the advantage.
In the decisive fifth game, he led 9-6 just two points away from victory but lost the plot there. Ghosal lost 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 4-11, 9-11.
Mahesh Mangaonkar who got on court next, played with lot of control, particularly after dropping the first game against Mohd Syafiq Kamal.
The Malaysian left-hander look nippy in his movement and made the most of the first game. But unluckily for him, he developed a niggle in right knee and even took a three-minute injury break. Mahesh capitalized on the situation and played with lot of intelligence to wear his opponent down 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-5 to restore parity for India.
In the final tie, the focus was on Harinder Pal Sandhu, who took on former world junior champion Eain Yow Ng. He bounced back after losing the first game to take the next two before losing steam to go down 7-11, 11-5, 11-8, 6-11, 5-11 to hand the match to Malaysia.